Push ups are one of the most popular exercises to strengthen your upper body. This movement works both on strength and endurance, and it requires no equipment, so it can easily be done at your home or workplace. This is a compound exercise that engages several muscle groups at once.
One of the biggest benefits of the push ups is that it is very versatile, by simply moving your hand position, you can put emphasis on different muscles in your upper body. The wide grip push up works mostly on your chest, while the narrow grip push ups will work both your chest and your triceps. The narrow variation is usually harder to do for most people.
While the chest and the triceps are the primary muscles in this exercise, you will also strengthen your shoulder, biceps, back, and similar to the plank position, it will also strengthen your core and abs.
Another benefit of the close grip push up is that they put less stress on your shoulders, so if you feel some shoulder pain doing wide grip push up, try this variation instead.
If you find this exercises too difficult, you can put your knees down on the floor. this will reduce the pressure on your upper body. Another even easier variation, is the incline push up - when you put your hands on an elevated surface, like a bench, or a low table.
Squeeze the core and glutes to create a straight line from head to heel and maintain the tightness for stability throughout the whole exercise. Don't let your back arch or your hips sag down during the movement.
Keep elbows close to body during movement, don't let them flare out.
Shoulders should not be shrugged toward the ears as you go down.
Make sure to do the exercise for the entire range of motion. Try to go down to the point that your chest almost touches the floor, cutting the movement short might feel easier, but it is less effective. If you find the full range movement too difficult, try to lower your knees to the floor, or do fewer reps.